Upon his return to Australia Jeffkins embarked on a six month tour of the eastern states displaying the “Toll of the Speedway” film which was backed up with a first hand graphic description of the race. In June 1913 he made a similar visit to New Zealand and on his return he took the film to South Australia. (20)

Back in Melbourne he became involved with a number of influential businessmen and soon announced plans to establish motor speedways in both Sydney and Melbourne to cater for the spectacular Indianapolis style of auto racing. One of the businessmen attracted by Jeffkins brash plans was John Wren whose name was synonymous in sporting circles with football, boxing, wrestling and horse racing through to opera promotions. Wren also controlled most of the horse racing and unlicensed trotting tracks in and around Melbourne. Wren’s interest was mercenary as he realized that Jeffkins would need a suitable track and quickly convinced him that his trotting track at Richmond would be the ideal venue. The course was a half mile around and unbanked with a surface of earth and cinders. Wren quickly announced that a race meeting would take place on 22nd November 1913 with Jeffkins the promoter. The meeting would consist of races for both cars and motorcycles with twenty events scheduled. As an added attraction a match race between Jeffkins and local champion Dug Campbell was announced with a winner take all stake of 1000 pounds. (21)                                                                                                                                              
With Jeffkins promotional flair and Wren’s money the local press carried a massive advertising campaign during the weeks leading up to the races with publicity centred around the Jeffkins/Campbell contest – billed as “the US Champion versus the Australian speed merchant”. With complete disregard to the numerous motor races previously held in Australia the November meeting was billed as “the first motor races ever held in Australia”. Jeffkins car was to be a 120hp Mercedes while Campbell’s mount was Percy Cornwell’s smaller 90hp Mercedes.                                                                                                             
The program was to consist of ten races for motorcycles, six for cars and the Jeffkins / Campbell challenge to be held over three heats – two of two miles and a one mile affair. On the afternoon of the event a crowd of more than 17,000 had gathered for the excitement. In order that the motorcyclists had the use of the track in its best condition these events were first on the program. As the last of the motorcyclists left the track, a roar erupted from the packed grandstands as the noise of the two Mercedes warming up filled the air. The noise increased as the big red Mercedes of Jeffkins and his mechanician Bob Fraser entered the track followed by Campbell and Percy Cornwell in the gray car. They took up their starting positions with Jeffkins having drawn the inside running.                                                              
In the first heat Jeffkins jumped away from Campbell and at the end of the first lap led by 30 yards, slowly increasing this lead until the final lap was flagged. Following this Jeffkins suddenly slowed allowing Campbell to shoot to the front and streak to the finish an easy winner. Later Jeffkins confided that he had mistaken the flag signal and slowed thinking that he had completed the distance when in reality he had another lap to go. In the second heat Jeffkins streaked to the front early and stayed there for the full distance – leaving the score at one win each. Rain late in the afternoon rendered the track as “dangerous” with the officials deciding to support the wishes of the police and postponed the third and deciding heat to a later date. (22)                                                                

On Saturday 6th December the remaining heat was scheduled but owing to a mishap with Jeffkins motor it was further postponed to the following Monday. (23)                         

Campbell was ready and waiting by mid afternoon on Monday and when Jeffkins failed to appear by 5pm the referees declared Campbell the winner. The reason for Jeffkins non appearance was never explained. These match races at Richmond were Jeffkins final appearance behind the wheel of a racing car – his future motor racing experiences would be as a promoter. (24)

The February 1914 issue of The Motor in Australia reported that following the success of the Richmond promotion Jeffkins was proposing to hold a similar meeting at an unnamed location in Sydney. The article went on to state that Jeffkins was seeking funding to construct a permanent speedway in Sydney where he was now living in the family home at Annandale.

Rupert Jeffkins